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Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation

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From #1 New York Times bestselling author Cokie Roberts comes New York Times bestseller Founding Mothers, an intimate and illuminating look at the fervently patriotic and passionate women whose tireless pursuits on behalf of their families–and their country–proved just as crucial to the forging of a new nation as the rebellion that established it. While much has been writte From #1 New York Times bestselling author Cokie Roberts comes New York Times bestseller Founding Mothers, an intimate and illuminating look at the fervently patriotic and passionate women whose tireless pursuits on behalf of their families–and their country–proved just as crucial to the forging of a new nation as the rebellion that established it. While much has been written about the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, battled the British, and framed the Constitution, the wives, mothers, sisters and daughters they left behind have been little noticed by history. #1 New York Times bestselling author Cokie Roberts brings us women who fought the Revolution as valiantly as the men, often defending their very doorsteps. Drawing upon personal correspondence, private journals, and even favoured recipes, Roberts reveals the often surprising stories of these fascinating women, bringing to life the everyday trials and extraordinary triumphs of individuals like Abigail Adams, Mercy Otis Warren, Deborah Read Franklin, Eliza Pinckney, Catherine Littlefield Green, Esther DeBerdt Reed and Martha Washington–proving that without our exemplary women, the new country might have never survived.


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From #1 New York Times bestselling author Cokie Roberts comes New York Times bestseller Founding Mothers, an intimate and illuminating look at the fervently patriotic and passionate women whose tireless pursuits on behalf of their families–and their country–proved just as crucial to the forging of a new nation as the rebellion that established it. While much has been writte From #1 New York Times bestselling author Cokie Roberts comes New York Times bestseller Founding Mothers, an intimate and illuminating look at the fervently patriotic and passionate women whose tireless pursuits on behalf of their families–and their country–proved just as crucial to the forging of a new nation as the rebellion that established it. While much has been written about the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, battled the British, and framed the Constitution, the wives, mothers, sisters and daughters they left behind have been little noticed by history. #1 New York Times bestselling author Cokie Roberts brings us women who fought the Revolution as valiantly as the men, often defending their very doorsteps. Drawing upon personal correspondence, private journals, and even favoured recipes, Roberts reveals the often surprising stories of these fascinating women, bringing to life the everyday trials and extraordinary triumphs of individuals like Abigail Adams, Mercy Otis Warren, Deborah Read Franklin, Eliza Pinckney, Catherine Littlefield Green, Esther DeBerdt Reed and Martha Washington–proving that without our exemplary women, the new country might have never survived.

30 review for Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jason Koivu

    Having read numerous biographies on the men from this era, I was eager to read about the female side of things. I should have read something by a better writer with more knowledge on historical matters. In Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation Cokie Roberts often gets her facts slightly askew. That's not a good thing in a history book. It leads one to question the validity of everything the author says. If relaying factual information isn't the historian's number one priority, what is Having read numerous biographies on the men from this era, I was eager to read about the female side of things. I should have read something by a better writer with more knowledge on historical matters. In Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation Cokie Roberts often gets her facts slightly askew. That's not a good thing in a history book. It leads one to question the validity of everything the author says. If relaying factual information isn't the historian's number one priority, what is? Too often Roberts stops the flow to say, "See, women did just as important things as the men back then, too!" I don't doubt that they did. In fact, that is precisely why I picked this book. I've read enough about the Washingtons, Adamses and Jeffersons. I want to hear about the equally strong women! The courageous women of our nation's founding - Abigail Adams, Mercy Otis Warren, Margaret "Captain Molly" Corbin, and young Sybil Ludington - deserve better. I don't feel that drawing attention to historical inequities of man-vs-woman in this case served these women as well as if the writer were to just state the facts and let the actions of the women speak for themselves. All in all, Founding Mothers... was not horrible, but a disappointment in the end. However, that won't keep me from seeking something better on the same subject. Recommendations are welcome.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jean

    With the death of Cokie Roberts this week, I checked to see if I had read all of her books. I discovered I had missed this one. The book is well written and researched. The problem is the lack of information on many of the women except for Abigail Adams. In this period women had no rights and few were educated so little information about them was recorded. The Adams’ family was an exception as they were educated, including the women, and were prolific letter writers and diary recorders. Some of t With the death of Cokie Roberts this week, I checked to see if I had read all of her books. I discovered I had missed this one. The book is well written and researched. The problem is the lack of information on many of the women except for Abigail Adams. In this period women had no rights and few were educated so little information about them was recorded. The Adams’ family was an exception as they were educated, including the women, and were prolific letter writers and diary recorders. Some of the women covered in this book besides Abigail Adams are Dolly Madison, Martha Washington, Mary Barlett, Esther Burr and Sarah Livingston Jay. The book is a fast easy read and provides a glimpse of life in the 1700s. I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible. The book is six hours and forty-three minutes. Cokie Roberts narrated her own book. Roberts was a pioneer television broadcaster journalist.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Corinne Edwards

    I am ashamed that it took me so long to get around to reading this book - it was given to me for Mother's Day in 2004. That's me looking sheepish :) Although I am a big fan of historical fiction, straight up history tends to make my eyes droopy - so I either really have to be motivated or have some sort of external force urging me onward. Since my online book club chose this for our book of the month, I knew this was the time to remove the dust jacket and sink my teeth into some American History I am ashamed that it took me so long to get around to reading this book - it was given to me for Mother's Day in 2004. That's me looking sheepish :) Although I am a big fan of historical fiction, straight up history tends to make my eyes droopy - so I either really have to be motivated or have some sort of external force urging me onward. Since my online book club chose this for our book of the month, I knew this was the time to remove the dust jacket and sink my teeth into some American History. In this case, the history was not particularly dry - in fact, Cokie's writing was full of anecdotal and interesting stories about the wives, daughters and relations of our Founding Fathers. Her style was readable and informal - I felt like I was sitting in a lecture hall, being taught by a professor with a healthy sense of humor and irony. Some parts were, admittedly, dull to me and I had to force myself to pick it up, but I get that way with nonfiction sometimes. I think I am just a more plot-driven reader, for better or for worse. The book is divided into historical periods, which was helpful. What was not so helpful, for me, was how often I felt the narration jumped around - either from person to person or from past to present (well, Revolutionary Present). There were so many people and names that when we kept jumping back and forth I had a really hard time keeping everyone and their story straight. To remedy this, instead of trying to be 100% aware at all times of who I was reading about, I tried to mostly just appreciate what this book intended to teach me: that these women deserve to have their stories told. And while Martha Washington and Abagail Adams are familiar names, many more women were influential on not only their own men, but on pre-Revolutionary society as a whole. A good part of what our country is today is a result of their opinions and their valiant efforts both during the Revolution and while our country was being slowly pieced together. Not all the women in this book made great choices, of course. Some had affairs with married men - and these affairs affected the course of historical events. Some women even held their husbands back from public office, adding to the workload of other Revolutionaries. For good or bad, these ladies had an important place in the events of the Revolution. What Cokie did particularly well was to place these women in the context of the lives of their men. And by doing so, without ever stating it outright, she helps us to realize that these men, immortalized on our money and in the names of our elementary schools, they were just that: mortal men. They had flaws and they made mistakes and they loved their wives and cheated on them. They mourned the loss of their children, traveled back and forth constantly throughout a war torn land and fought tirelessly for a dream of governing themselves. And while these men worked in the public sphere, the women oversaw plantations alone, ran fundraising campaigns for the soldiers, wrote political plays, raised children and buried them. Martha, Abagail and all the others who supported the Founding Fathers absolutely deserve three cheers of their own.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Antigone

    As late as November 1792, when [President George Washington] was still telling her that he was determined to retire, Eliza composed a letter detailing the "consequence of the sentiments that you had confided in me." First she threatened him, telling him that "the well earned popularity that you are now in possession of will be torn from you by the envious and malignant should you follow the bent of your inclinations." People would say that he cared only about himself, that the job could do nothi As late as November 1792, when [President George Washington] was still telling her that he was determined to retire, Eliza composed a letter detailing the "consequence of the sentiments that you had confided in me." First she threatened him, telling him that "the well earned popularity that you are now in possession of will be torn from you by the envious and malignant should you follow the bent of your inclinations." People would say that he cared only about himself, that the job could do nothing to add to his fame. "The Anti-Federalist would use it as an argument for dissolving the Union, and would urge that you, from experience, had found the present system a bad one, and had, artfully, withdrawn from it that you might not be crushed under its ruins." Then she appealed to his patriotism: "Will you withdraw your aid from a structure that certainly wants your assistance to support it? Can you, with fortitude, see it crumble to decay?" Then she played to his pride: "At this time, you are the only man in America that dares to do right on all public occasions...your very figure is calculated to inspire respect and confidence in the people." And then she raised doubts about his judgment: "Have you not, on some occasions, found the consummation of your wishes the source of the keenest of your sufferings?" This outpouring from a friend carried no self-interested politics with it. Washington would run for a second term. Cokie Roberts, a political reporter and analyst most often associated with NPR and ABC News, passed away this September. Among her contributions in the journalistic arena were three books tracing the history of influential women in American politics - books that take us from the Revolution through to the Civil War. Founding Mothers is the first of the series and chronicles the break from England, the battle for independence, and the construction of the government as seen through the eyes of the women present and participating in this, often ferocious, endeavor. The most common critiques of this work point to its loose structure and the frequency with which Ms. Roberts breaks "the fourth wall" to offer an aside of her own. She does, indeed, have a tendency to range (though never far afield), and to exclaim when a woman is being treated unfairly - but I thought it a small price to pay for the amount of solid research that went into this account. It is no easy task to relay the feats of women from an age when those acts were summarily dismissed as inconsequential and those voices deemed unworthy of recording. There is so much correspondence here; letters in which those female minds are genuinely encountered, and passages in which those voices striving to express, to confront, to advise, to support and strengthen the cause and the birth of this nation are finally given their day. In this, the author has succeeded rather magnificently. There are, and (hopefully) will be, biographies of far more weight and substance. Yet as an introduction to these women? The book meets its aim.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Linda Hart

    She's a poor journalist/commentator and a worse writer. What could have been a fascinating read (the title is great) was presented in a boring, sophomoric style. Her prose is bad, the content is mere filler of cute stories of women doing very little, and she doesn't stay on the subject. Those who gave this high marks in their review surely have lost their abilities for critical thought. This repetitive, plodding clip-job is really the result of a popular hack trying to cash in with as little wor She's a poor journalist/commentator and a worse writer. What could have been a fascinating read (the title is great) was presented in a boring, sophomoric style. Her prose is bad, the content is mere filler of cute stories of women doing very little, and she doesn't stay on the subject. Those who gave this high marks in their review surely have lost their abilities for critical thought. This repetitive, plodding clip-job is really the result of a popular hack trying to cash in with as little work as possible.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    It is clear that Cokie Roberts (1) knows these women and their stories well and (2) likes them. It is interesting to read about the women who did so much during the War for Independence and the early days of the United States of America. Ms. Roberts has a firm grasp of history and the place of these early women in it. Having said that, I found this a hard book to read. I suppose every writer of history faces a decision about how to present the material. I was hoping for a set of mini-biographies It is clear that Cokie Roberts (1) knows these women and their stories well and (2) likes them. It is interesting to read about the women who did so much during the War for Independence and the early days of the United States of America. Ms. Roberts has a firm grasp of history and the place of these early women in it. Having said that, I found this a hard book to read. I suppose every writer of history faces a decision about how to present the material. I was hoping for a set of mini-biographies of these amazing women. Instead, Roberts presents the material as part of a history of the war and the early days of the republic. Unfortunately, the material is so dense that it is hard to keep track of who is who and to remember what they have done earlier in the book. Sometimes she breaks out of chronological sequence, flashing backward or forward in time. Reaching the end of the book, I have a sense of appreciation for these remarkable women, but I don't have clear pictures of each one an an individual.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    A very slow read for me. Although many of the "behind-the-scenes" stories surrounding the Founding Fathers and their women were very new and interesting to me, they were not very well organized. I kept having to scan back for dates and names, making it a tedious read at times. There was little flow or focus throughout the book, as the author jumped from one story to the next, sometimes connecting back to a story in the first chapter. I also thought there seemed to be a lot of pointless quotes, i A very slow read for me. Although many of the "behind-the-scenes" stories surrounding the Founding Fathers and their women were very new and interesting to me, they were not very well organized. I kept having to scan back for dates and names, making it a tedious read at times. There was little flow or focus throughout the book, as the author jumped from one story to the next, sometimes connecting back to a story in the first chapter. I also thought there seemed to be a lot of pointless quotes, including many pulled out of context. I am glad to have learned about the women who raised and impacted so many great men, but I can't say that I'd recommend this book to just anyone. If you'd like to learn a very little bit about a great many women who brushed shoulders with the Founding Fathers, then maybe you ought to give it a read sometime.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sherry

    While the men were busy founding the nation, what were the women up to? Aside from Betsy Ross, I don't remember ever hearing about women as a child (By the way, some of Ross's descendants still insist that she did, in fact, sew that first flag.) My courses in American history provided me with a glimpse of Martha Washington's bravery at Valley Forge, and gave a brief account of Dolley Madison's daring rescue of the portrait of George Washington as the British marched on the White House. When the While the men were busy founding the nation, what were the women up to? Aside from Betsy Ross, I don't remember ever hearing about women as a child (By the way, some of Ross's descendants still insist that she did, in fact, sew that first flag.) My courses in American history provided me with a glimpse of Martha Washington's bravery at Valley Forge, and gave a brief account of Dolley Madison's daring rescue of the portrait of George Washington as the British marched on the White House. When the modern feminist movement bloomed in the 1960's, women started passing around Abigail Adams's famous advice to John and his colleagues in Philadelphia to "remember the ladies." That was about it. As I read through the letters of John and Abigail Adams and became more and more fascinated with her life, I grew curious about the other women who had the ears of the Founding Fathers. These women lived through extraordinary times and must, it seemed to me, have extraordinary tales to tell. Now I know they do. It's safe to say that most of the men who wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, fought the Revolution, and formed the government couldn't have done it without the women. And it was the women who, by insisting that the men come together for civilized conversations at dinner parties in the early republic, helped keep the fragile new country from falling into fatal partisan discord. The women made the men behave. -Cokie Roberts I enjoyed this book more than I was expecting. Far from being a boring history book, Roberts breathes life into these great women. Not only does this talk about the women, but it fills in the details of The Revolutionary War (good, because I think I slept through this part of history class). At times hard to put down.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Cathy

    I wanted to like this book. My sister-in-law raved about it so I picked it up from the library and settled in. Perhaps it was me, but I found the stories a little bit muddled. It was so hard to keep track of which woman was being discussed because in the middle of one woman's life it would be like "oh and she also knew this other girl who was really cool so I'll talk about her right here and then get back to where I was". I couldn't follow it. It's also just so many women that unless you're real I wanted to like this book. My sister-in-law raved about it so I picked it up from the library and settled in. Perhaps it was me, but I found the stories a little bit muddled. It was so hard to keep track of which woman was being discussed because in the middle of one woman's life it would be like "oh and she also knew this other girl who was really cool so I'll talk about her right here and then get back to where I was". I couldn't follow it. It's also just so many women that unless you're really paying attention, or already familiar with them, it's hard to keep track of who they are, who they were married to, who they were friends with, etc., and the book assumes you remember it all. I gave up about 1/3 of the way through because I figured the writing style wasn't going to change. Too bad, I really like the author's bits on NPR but this book wasn't for me. 3 stars for covering a topic that I think is cool anyway.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Literary Chic

    Sadly, Ms. Roberts' Founding Mothers is pretty boring. I generally like her work, but I think only an occasional American history reader would find new material here. Ms. Roberts has good subjects for her biographies, but she doesn't have enough material for most of the characters. A majority on the content seemed like a dry middle grade history. I don't suggest this book, but Capital Dames by the same author is much stronger and more entertaining.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    Roberts shows a light on all those women who play second fiddle to all those men in those history books and on those tv shows. Very readable. Very enjoyable. Mostly white women, but she does mention and tell the story of Elizabeth Freeman, who needs her own movie.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    I'm not particularly interested in the American Revolution or the founding fathers, but I picked up this book because I thought I might learn some interesting stories. And I certainly did. This book uncovers incredible stories of women running farms, businesses and families through the uncertain times of late colonial life. There are stories of women defending their homes from Loyalists, outwitting the British as spies and even fighting on the front lines. Two famous women, Martha Washington and I'm not particularly interested in the American Revolution or the founding fathers, but I picked up this book because I thought I might learn some interesting stories. And I certainly did. This book uncovers incredible stories of women running farms, businesses and families through the uncertain times of late colonial life. There are stories of women defending their homes from Loyalists, outwitting the British as spies and even fighting on the front lines. Two famous women, Martha Washington and Abigail Adams have rather top-billing, but they had very interesting places as the female leaders of the new republic's social scene. However, readers (or listeners, who may appreciate the familiarity of Cokie Roberts as the reader) should be fully prepared to develop a surprising dislike of Ben Franklin. I have been used to thinking of Ben Franklin as radical printer, ingenious inventor, skilled negotiator, but this book shows him as husband and father and I thought he sounded dreadful as both. I looked forward to turning on this audiobook the moment I got in my car and raced through it with hardly a pause for radio or music. I thought a few times that I might have found reading it a little tedious, but I was never bored while listening.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Katie Brown

    That's right, my book club selected a book by Cokie Roberts. I really liked the idea of this book--true stories, many taken from actual letters--about the women who were influential in early days of America. But the actual book is boring, and hard to get through. The book is organized by person, and not as much with a specific timeline, so I got confused with trying to keep track of the chronology. Sometimes the letters themselves can be a little boring, too. It seemed like the author was trying That's right, my book club selected a book by Cokie Roberts. I really liked the idea of this book--true stories, many taken from actual letters--about the women who were influential in early days of America. But the actual book is boring, and hard to get through. The book is organized by person, and not as much with a specific timeline, so I got confused with trying to keep track of the chronology. Sometimes the letters themselves can be a little boring, too. It seemed like the author was trying to pack in all the info she had, instead of paying more attention to creating a story. No one in my book club finished it, and I've been half-way through it for months. I'm finally throwing in the towel.

  14. 5 out of 5

    BAM The Bibliomaniac

    A Book for all Seasons topic: related to this season

  15. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    I hate to say it, but this was a dud for me. I’m generously giving her 3 stars because of the subject matter, but her writing style, filled with personal interjections throughout, was off-putting and came across as almost juvenile. From what my friends have said after reading it in book form as compared with the audio version that I listened to, neither form was better than the other from that regard. Yes, I learned a lot about our often-heroic and long-suffering Revolutionary War wives, but Cok I hate to say it, but this was a dud for me. I’m generously giving her 3 stars because of the subject matter, but her writing style, filled with personal interjections throughout, was off-putting and came across as almost juvenile. From what my friends have said after reading it in book form as compared with the audio version that I listened to, neither form was better than the other from that regard. Yes, I learned a lot about our often-heroic and long-suffering Revolutionary War wives, but Cokie disappointed me here.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kressel Housman

    This book was on my “to read” list for quite some time, but I always felt that I ought to get a better grounding in the founding fathers, ie the colonial, Revolutionary, and Constitutional period, before I took on the founding mothers. So after my recent reads of The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin and A People's History of the Supreme Court, the latter of which gave a thorough picture of the Constitutional Congress, as well as a re-read of Johnny Tremain with my kids and my middle so This book was on my “to read” list for quite some time, but I always felt that I ought to get a better grounding in the founding fathers, ie the colonial, Revolutionary, and Constitutional period, before I took on the founding mothers. So after my recent reads of The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin and A People's History of the Supreme Court, the latter of which gave a thorough picture of the Constitutional Congress, as well as a re-read of Johnny Tremain with my kids and my middle son’s report on Benedict Arnold, I felt I was finally ready. Because this was the first book I’d read after A People's History of the Supreme Court, my first reaction was almost a sigh of relief. Both are history books, but this one was a breeze by comparison, one of those histories that reads like a novel. It’s not for nothing that Cokie Roberts is one of the premier journalists in America. In addition to detailing all the heroism of famous women like Abigail Adams and Martha Washington, she told the stories of lesser known women of the day, so that you get a really complete picture of the time. And here and there, she inserts her own comments, some of which are pretty snarky. I do have one regret regarding this book, and that is that I dropped it in favor of Magic Hours: Essays on Creators and Creation, a writing book that I had on interlibrary loan. That really interrupted the flow, so my enjoyment of the second half was not quite equal to my enjoyment of the first. But that was my fault, not the fault of the book. I recommend this book to every woman in America. It’ll make you want to give a big huzzah to all our founding mothers.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Brittney

    This book has a lot of potential, but unfortunately, it's hard to keep focused because there are so many names, places, time periods covered all at once. There are some great stories and I learned quite a bit, but I would have organized the book in a completely different way to make it more reader friendly. The way it is now, this is a grazing book instead of a sit-down-and-read book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    this is an extremely interesting yet dry book about the women who helped establish the United States. It's amazing how little credit these women get in the grand scheme of things. it made me realize the resilience and passion these women had in order to create the land in which i live today.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    I learned more from this book about the American Revolution than I did during my high school and college history classes.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

    Okay, I feel a bit silly giving this New York Times Bestseller's author's book a rating of just one star. But the definition of one star is "did not like it," and that's how I feel about this book. That may not be fair, since I didn't finish reading it, and, in fact, only just started reading it. But I'm put off by the author's feminist viewpoints. It feels like every page has her commentary about how these "women who raised our nation" were wonderful in spite of the men around them, or oppresse Okay, I feel a bit silly giving this New York Times Bestseller's author's book a rating of just one star. But the definition of one star is "did not like it," and that's how I feel about this book. That may not be fair, since I didn't finish reading it, and, in fact, only just started reading it. But I'm put off by the author's feminist viewpoints. It feels like every page has her commentary about how these "women who raised our nation" were wonderful in spite of the men around them, or oppressed because of the men around them, or something along those lines. After reading the Acknowledgements and Author's Note, the Introduction, and the first 22 pages, I decided to scan the Table of Contents to review the layout of the book. There I found listed, after the seven chapters that comprise the body of the book, a "Cast of Characters." I turned to page 279 to review that list, and, at the end of the introductory paragraph, was put off once again by this last sentence: "Here, then, as sorry as I am to define these wonderful women by their male attachments, is the Who's Who among Founding Mothers." And that pretty well summarizes the tone of the book. I would appreciate the stories much more if they didn't have the added commentary by the author. But, then, I suppose she is only doing her job as she sees it. The "About the Author" page describes Cokie Roberts as being a political commentator for ABC News and also the senior news analyst for National Public Radio. 'Nuff said.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    I really enjoyed this book. In the beginning Cokie's comments got to be a bit much, but at least she did not try to disguise her opinion. It was easy to discern it from the facts. She got me a bit miffed at times with her man-hating but that added energy to my read. The information and stories told were wonderful to learn. Cokie must have done a phenomenal amount of research and it showed. She included many letters and interspersed them in her narrative reasonably effectively. I wish I could give I really enjoyed this book. In the beginning Cokie's comments got to be a bit much, but at least she did not try to disguise her opinion. It was easy to discern it from the facts. She got me a bit miffed at times with her man-hating but that added energy to my read. The information and stories told were wonderful to learn. Cokie must have done a phenomenal amount of research and it showed. She included many letters and interspersed them in her narrative reasonably effectively. I wish I could give this 3.5 stars due to my less-than-high opinion of Cokie's banter but I gave it four because I thouroughly enjoyed every page. Cokie Roberts wrote a good book. The abundance of information was exciting to learn and made me want to know more about our Founding Parents and the time of the Revolution and all it encompassed. We have so much for which to be grateful. We must not forget the sacrifice made by those that came before. We must not be complacent and rest upon the laurels they planted. We must work and toil and take joy in our lives and in our freedoms. Now, onto The Good Earth. [I bumped this down to a three star because I realized it was more the topic that I loved than the writing, necessarily. I still recommend the book and hope to learn more about the beginnings of this, our great nation.)

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ghost of the Library

    Give me history books - memoirs, bios, tales of wars and lost loves, of revenges and death - and i am a happy woman!...perhaps i was born in the wrong century after all.... What we have is a very interesting piece of american history that approaches the women whose husbands, fathers, sons and brothers played a pivotal role in the american independence and the birth of the new nation. Abigail Adams and her famous correspondence with her husband - future President John Adams; Martha Washington and h Give me history books - memoirs, bios, tales of wars and lost loves, of revenges and death - and i am a happy woman!...perhaps i was born in the wrong century after all.... What we have is a very interesting piece of american history that approaches the women whose husbands, fathers, sons and brothers played a pivotal role in the american independence and the birth of the new nation. Abigail Adams and her famous correspondence with her husband - future President John Adams; Martha Washington and her world famous husband (need i name him?); Mercy Otis Warren - published author, curious mix of conservative and rebel; and a few other names totally unknown to me and just as pleasurable to get acquainted with. The author is quite sucessful in engaging one's attention and curiosity towards her founding mothers, mostly because she almost perfectly weaves a fluid tale of life and love, war, death and the birth of a nation. This is quite a remarkable group of women, whose role is sadly only known because their correspondence with the men survived, but its nevertheless important and worth knowing of. Happy Readings!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Deb

    Anecdotal but does get a bit dense with the history at times. Roberts said in the preface that she started out thinking she was writing about a bunch of extraordinary women but then realized the women during the Revolution were doing what women always do: put one foot in front of the other every day doing what needs to be done. They were running farms, raising kids, managing households, collecting debts, facing British soldiers, whatever, so the men could sit in Philadelphia and create a new kin Anecdotal but does get a bit dense with the history at times. Roberts said in the preface that she started out thinking she was writing about a bunch of extraordinary women but then realized the women during the Revolution were doing what women always do: put one foot in front of the other every day doing what needs to be done. They were running farms, raising kids, managing households, collecting debts, facing British soldiers, whatever, so the men could sit in Philadelphia and create a new kind of country. Perfect timing for this one, too. I didn't realize how much Charleston figured into the Revolutionary War era (4th largest city in the country at that time). I was there last weekend and all that history I just read is right there in the streets, homes and buildings. I enjoyed the book.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

    This was a second read. I have read enough other books about this time period that I am more familiar with the characters...who they married....who they wrote to...other names they were known by....who else they were married to......what they did to contribute to the founding of our nation( and it was significant!).....and how they fit in with the time line of events. As fascinating as the book is, I found it difficult to follow time lines and relationships due to the way Ms. Roberts presents th This was a second read. I have read enough other books about this time period that I am more familiar with the characters...who they married....who they wrote to...other names they were known by....who else they were married to......what they did to contribute to the founding of our nation( and it was significant!).....and how they fit in with the time line of events. As fascinating as the book is, I found it difficult to follow time lines and relationships due to the way Ms. Roberts presents the characters & events. 2nd read is much better and I really feel she's done an excellent job identifying how important the women were to the forming of our country and what Patriots they were. This book made me feel more intimately acquainted with these wonderful women and their sacrifices. I hope Ms. Roberts writes continues to write about women and history.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Feisty Harriet

    The author includes a lot of great content, the snippets of information we have about many women in the early, tumultuous days of the American republic. However, I don't care for the organization or the frequent commentary from the author. It was hard to follow the characters and what they did in the larger framework of the war chronology (as opposed to what I would have preferred, a small story about a woman and what she did throughout the war, then the next, and the next. Spreading them out wi The author includes a lot of great content, the snippets of information we have about many women in the early, tumultuous days of the American republic. However, I don't care for the organization or the frequent commentary from the author. It was hard to follow the characters and what they did in the larger framework of the war chronology (as opposed to what I would have preferred, a small story about a woman and what she did throughout the war, then the next, and the next. Spreading them out with a paragraph here and another one 15 pages later made it hard for me to get into any of the stories.) I'd definitely recommend Woody Holton's biography on Abigail Adams before this. Even Chernow's biography on George Washington has a ton of info about Martha and other leading ladies of the day with whom he corresponded. Skip this.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tania

    This wasn't one that I "couldn't put down" but it definitely held my interest while I read it. I learned A TON about Early American History--things you'd assume one already knew or understood--like how many years later the Constitution was written after the Declaration of Independence. It also made me think about things I'd never considered--like what were the women doing and where were they while the men were writing the Constitution or while the men were slugging it out on the battle fields. ( This wasn't one that I "couldn't put down" but it definitely held my interest while I read it. I learned A TON about Early American History--things you'd assume one already knew or understood--like how many years later the Constitution was written after the Declaration of Independence. It also made me think about things I'd never considered--like what were the women doing and where were they while the men were writing the Constitution or while the men were slugging it out on the battle fields. (Many were running for their lives, pregnant with kids in tow! Duh! Of course they would but I'd never thought about it! Or some burned down their own homes or fields just so the British would NOT get it!) I found it very interesting. I'm glad I read it.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    I rarely read non-fiction, but this one appealed to me. And my son, who reads almost nothing but American History, was very persuasive. This was very "readable" and worthy. Well written, it paints the portraits of the women who helped shape the new nation. I had no idea they were so involved in the actual policy-making, let alone the miracles they pulled off to make it possible for the men to do their part. Indeed, I will never see the Revolutionary Period the same way. My understanding and appr I rarely read non-fiction, but this one appealed to me. And my son, who reads almost nothing but American History, was very persuasive. This was very "readable" and worthy. Well written, it paints the portraits of the women who helped shape the new nation. I had no idea they were so involved in the actual policy-making, let alone the miracles they pulled off to make it possible for the men to do their part. Indeed, I will never see the Revolutionary Period the same way. My understanding and appreciation has been enlarged by the reading of this book. I would hope that would happen over and over again as this book is read by every caring American.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ann

    I have been listening to this book on CD and it has some good stories of the early women who founded the country. The catchy, but all the women in the book weren't necessarily mothers of patriots - many were wives. Good stories of how the women ran the farm, gave birth to children, and fended off the enemy at home while the men were of talking in Philadelphia. A good quote from the book that said that if the British beat the army, they would still have the women to tangle with! Good stories of c I have been listening to this book on CD and it has some good stories of the early women who founded the country. The catchy, but all the women in the book weren't necessarily mothers of patriots - many were wives. Good stories of how the women ran the farm, gave birth to children, and fended off the enemy at home while the men were of talking in Philadelphia. A good quote from the book that said that if the British beat the army, they would still have the women to tangle with! Good stories of courage and independent, strong women who fought for the freedom of the country.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Teresa

    My husband said he doesn't need to read this book because I practically read the whole thing to him, and my mother would probably say the same thing. It's that good. In the introduction, Roberts wrote that in her own family history, she knew all about her well-documented, heroic grandfathers, but had never read anything written by her grandmothers. I was hooked. I like Roberts' voice, including her frequent, almost-sarcastic asides--they bring the book back to earth, reminding me that these were My husband said he doesn't need to read this book because I practically read the whole thing to him, and my mother would probably say the same thing. It's that good. In the introduction, Roberts wrote that in her own family history, she knew all about her well-documented, heroic grandfathers, but had never read anything written by her grandmothers. I was hooked. I like Roberts' voice, including her frequent, almost-sarcastic asides--they bring the book back to earth, reminding me that these were real people.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    I usually enjoy a well written historical book and this book is no exception. The author included details that were sometimes tedious but brought the women of the American Revolution to the heart of the politics and economics of the time. Reading about the Revolutionary leaders wives, daughters and nieces great personal sacrifices, political acume, economic hardships made my heart wrench. Bless all of them.

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